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Nature has started to become green and fresh again, and the days are staying lighter for longer. Although it feels as though spring has barely sprung, most people are looking a little further ahead. Having spent much of the last year trapped indoors, who could blame you for starting to make plans for a sun-soaked, adventurous summer?
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While you can look and feel great whatever your plans are, it is vital that you also give some consideration to how you can stay healthy.
Yes, having lived through a pandemic, you’re probably sick of hearing about protecting yourself against illnesses. However, the world is not completely out of the woods yet, and there are still other issues that can present health risks that are not connected to COVID-19. With a few adjustments to your plans, you can get the most out of your summer.
Nourish Your Body
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When summer starts to roll around, a lot of people motivate themselves to start a diet. While a healthy diet can help you maintain weight and wellness, taking on short-term, goal-oriented weight loss programs is not good for your overall wellbeing. Your brain is designed to rebel against this approach; informed partly by a genetic predisposition to be within a certain body mass range.
Your hormones also respond to rapid weight loss actions with cravings for dense foods. Whatever your motivation, depriving your body of nutrients is not the safe or effective way forward. Rather, pay closer attention to the types of food you eat and make sure that your body gets the nutrition it needs to thrive during the summer.
Perhaps the most common way in which people fail to nourish their bodies effectively is through their water intake. Your body needs between 2.7 to 3.6 litres of water per day to remain functional. Without sufficient hydration, especially when you plan on going outside, you can experience fatigue, skin issues, headaches, and even urinary tract infections.
The need to keep well hydrated is enhanced in the summer months, particularly if you have an active lifestyle. Prepare by making sure that you take a couple of bottles of water with you whenever you leave home — not soft drinks or energy drinks since neither of these options is effective or healthy. If you plan on regularly exercising, drinking water that is infused with electrolytes can help replace those you’ve lost through sweating.
Maintain Your Energy
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When summer rolls around, you want to make the most of it — particularly in parts of the UK that don’t always see a lot of sunshine! As such, it’s important to make sure that you are in a position to keep your energy levels up so that you don’t find yourself overexerting yourself during activities. You certainly don’t want to reach one of the most enjoyable parts of the year and find that you are suffering from fatigue.
One of the most important areas for you to focus on is getting the right amount of sleep. With the sun remaining high for a large portion of the day in the summer, you may find yourself staying up later and rising earlier, thus losing sleep. Doing this can be disruptive to your circadian rhythm, which in turn can be detrimental to your health.
You can help to keep your system in sync by sticking to a routine each day, and consistently applying winding down procedures. Make sure that when you go to bed your room is well designed to support sleep — soft lighting, drawn curtains, access to a book rather than your screens. The better quality of sleep you can get, the more able you’ll be to experience a healthy summer.
Protect Your Skin
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When summer rolls around there’s a natural tendency to let your skin drink in some of that revitalizing sunshine. There are certainly health benefits to this; vitamin D can boost your immune system, enhance your mood, and it can even help aid better quality sleep. However, it’s equally important to understand how exposing your body to the elements for extended periods can be detrimental, so you can better protect your skin and your wellbeing.
The first step, and probably the most important step, is to make certain that you keep a robust sunblock application routine. Most people know why to wear sunscreen — doing so can reduce your chances of developing both squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and lower your melanoma risk — but most people don’t always know how to protect themselves against these concerns with proper application.
Firstly, you should be using a sunblock that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. If you’re using a chemical sunscreen, it’s best to apply it before you use any other skin or beauty products since it needs to seep into your skin to function correctly. If you’re using a mineral-based screen (like zinc) that blocks UV rays, this needs to be applied to the top level of your skin, so put it on after any other skin products are used.
The sun isn’t the only threat to healthy skin in the summer. Fewer clothes and more time outside can mean that you have greater exposure to pollution, especially in cities. This is considered to cause accelerated signs of ageing — wrinkles, blemishes, less collagen production — and even cause health issues, particularly for those with sensitive skin. As such, it’s important to keep well hydrated to keep your skin clear and exfoliate regularly to prevent pore blockage.
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To get the most out of the summer, it's important to approach the season with consideration to your health. Make sure that your body gets the food and hydration it needs, and pay close attention to the quality of your sleep. This, alongside a skin protection routine, can make sure you can have a happy and healthy summer.
At the moment, many of us are stuck indoors, unable to go outside much because of the lockdown restrictions and also the weather.
Anthony Tran - Unsplash
If you are looking at your expanding waistline, or your dull skin tone, wondering how you are ever going to look and feel good in your bikini when summer comes…Fashions Finest has put together some tips to help you feel good about yourself, and make some small but positive changes towards a healthier mind and body.
Tip 1 - Detox Your Body
Don’t be put off by this title. This is not as daunting as it sounds. There are many common misconceptions about detoxification, but the truth is, your body has a natural way of detoxifying itself constantly through your lymphatic system and your liver. All you need to do is give your body a helping hand to make its job a little easier. Follow these suggestions of how you can do this here.
Start by looking at how much alcohol you drink, and writing the amount down (this helps you to really see what you are drinking) You can help your liver to do it’s job so much more efficiently if you gradually reduce the amount over time. You can also drink more water throughout the day. Drinking more water may make you wee a lot more at first if your body isn’t used to it – but this will improve as your body adapts, and you will find your skin tone and texture improve, as well as more .
Try drinking a pint of water as soon as you get up in the morning (yes before your coffee!) and always having water or juice near you while you work (or home-school) this will help you to remember to drink plenty.
Tip 2 – Move More
This might sound simple – but it can be difficult to move much when you are stuck at home, and the weather is wet and cold outside. Try to plan movement breaks into your day – stick on some dance music and spend three minutes every hour boogying around your living room, or do star jumps for 1 minute every hour. You could walk up and down your hallway every time you have to talk to someone on the phone.
Try always using the farthest toilet from where you are (if you are lucky to have more than 1 in your house) or run up and down the stairs twice instead of once every time you go upstairs.
All of these things may sound small, but they will begin to get your heart working that little bit more, your body moving and adrenalin pumping too. You can work your way up to doing online workouts, or outdoor running over time. Start small but aim big!
Tip 3 – Use A Food Tracker
Aps which track your food will really help you to see what you are eating and make conscious food choices. You might think you only have a few biscuits with your cup of tea at the end of every day – but when you have to track it – you realise you actually eat half a pack at every sitting!
Find your chosen tracker and download onto your phone, then weigh your food (yes all of it) or some apps let you just scan bar codes from food packages for ease. It might be a little more time consuming at first, but the app will retain information and the next time you eat the same meal, or the same snack – it will already be accessible in the app.
You will be able to see the breakdown of nutrients in your food on a daily basis, and work out where you can make changes for the better, for example – adding more fibre by eating greens with your dinner, or choosing turkey rashers over bacon to lower the amount of fats you consume etc. There are plenty of tip and help on how to eat well online to help you.
Tip 4 – Plan Quality Time For Yourself
You may feel like you have nothing but time at the moment, and nothing to do with it all, but planning some quality time (even if it is only once a week) for yourself will help you to feel good about yourself. Have a good long bath. Read a magazine or book with candles lit. Listen to some of your favourite music, Write in your journal, Give yourself a facial or manicure. Exfoliate, paint your nails…or if you can - do all of these things.
Relaxing and having these positive experiences will help you to feel positive, sleep better, feel calmer and give you a purpose.
Feeling good about yourself means you will feel more energised and able to have a positive outlook. What’s happening on the inside of you will shine outward.
Tip 5 – Sleep More
Sleep is essential for us as humans, and having a good, regular sleep pattern can help you to feel better, and even look great too.
Plan in at least eight hours of sleep a night, and try to go to bed and get up at the same time every night in the week, to help your body get into a rhythm. Limit the use of tablets and phones an hour or so before bed if you struggle with falling asleep, and try to drink less caffeine in the late afternoons and evenings, as these will all keep you awake into the night.
Your body will thank you by feeling more ‘alive’ and energised during the day. Your brain will be more alert, and you may even be less likely to end up with some diseases like type 2 diabetes!
Tip 6 – Get Some Help
If you are really stuck in a rut, and feel like you need some help with the way you are feeling, or how you look, then Fashions Finest says get the help you need.
Having a personal trainer to help you with your food choices and exercise can give your body and mind a much needed boost. There are personal trainers who work online, whereby you can get expert knowledge and advice online - whilst in the safety of your own home. It is also a great – pocket friendly option which is growing in popularity due to the current national lockdown. Using a PT for socially distanced 1:1’s can also be a great option, even when gyms are not open and accessible.
Getting emotional support by speaking to a friend, someone anonymous or even your doctor about any negative feelings can help you to re-order your emotions, and gain a different perspective on life at the moment.
If you are worried about your mental health, there are plenty of places you can go for help quickly. Never suffer in silence.
This National Workouts and Wellbeing Week, the co-founders of new emotional fitness app Fika are urging people across the UK to make time for an emotional workout as well as a physical workout.
New emotional fitness app Fika promises to help students develop resilience, coping skills & active listening skills – improving their relationships and helping them achieve their goals.
I was given the opportunity to try out Easy Detox 7 day plan i accepted as I was curious as I had never done anything like that before. When i told my friends and colleagues I was doing a 7-day detox most of them remarked ‘are you crazy?’, ‘You don’t need to lose weight’, ‘why?’ ‘Don’t you eat healthily anyway?’ and more.
Although i do eat healthily and don’t have ‘I can’t live without’ foods it was the thought of giving up the few foods I like to eat on a weekly basis, that was a struggle in my mind.
The process for the detox was to take 1 sachet of powder 3 times a day, morning afternoon and evening with coconut water, smoothies or sugar free juice. Depending on what you are trying to achieve you can stick to just that or find light healthy balanced meals on the Easy Detox website. I had read in some previous reviews that people had lost weight in 3 days, sounds amazing but I was not looking to lose weight, just to cleanse my body of any toxins and see what difference it made.
Foods I had to avoid
Salt, sugar, sweeteners, meat, dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, fried foods
Day 1 - I mixed up the powder as suggested and ate a mainly bean or salad diet which I will give you at the end and drank lots and lots of water and exercise which is recommended.
Day 2 – I repeated the process with a similar diet with lots and lots of water and exercise and again no noticeable change.
Day 3 - I repeated the process and noticed my stomach was beginning to bloat and i was starting to feel very uncomfortable.
Day 4 - I repeated the process, my stomach was still bloated bloat even more and that uncomfortable feeling was getting worse.
At this stage i was wondering if I should stop as knowing my body well I know that it reacts in a negative way to any change slight change in diet or environment. So, i deliberated whether i should continue or not and how long would the bloating last and could i cope with this feeling any longer. However, i’m not a quitter so I decided to continue.
Day 5 – My body was beginning to get used to the change in diet and the detox but i was not feeling good at all and although the bloating was going down it was not as quickly as I had hoped but as i only had 2 days to go i struggled on.
Day 6 - by day 6 was feeling a little better and quite happy as i knew i only had one day to go.
Day 7 – To be honest this day could not have come quick enough for me. I was quite happy knowing I would not have to repeat the process again.
It can be difficult to know what to eat but on th esite their are recipies to help create some healthy alternative meals. I decided to opt for a variety of Beans, pulses, vegetables, roasted veg, salad, potatoes, quorn, natural yogurt, smoothies (as most fruit in its natural state makes me feel sick), coconut water, water.
Pros: no obvious side effect from cutting out things in my diet and this was because of the natural ingredients included in the detox to counteract that. The detox was pleasant. My water intake increased and i am still drinking lots of it.
Two week on, my skin is not as dry and flaky as it is normally and feels quite smooth.
Cons: uncomfortable bloated stomach, unable to go to the toilet regularly and bouts of nausea which lasted another week, after i had finished the detox.
Would I do another detox like this? NO! I decided that although the detox was tasty and there were some noticeable it was not for me. I am a fairly healthy person, i exercise as and when i need to and have no excessive eating habits or addictions to caffeine, sugar or other so that may be the reason it did not work for me and i did not see much change.
For anyone wanting to try this and who is a newbie to detoxes and diets like me I would suggest maybe the three day detox first to see how your body reacts.
Thank you Easy Detox for the experience.
By Deborah St. Louis - Fashions Finest (CEO)
It was great to catch up with CEO Vinna Best for Fashions Finest as one of the things that aided and encouraged my natural hair journey definably has to be natural hair events.